Lesson: Main Idea: Supporting Details

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Lesson Objective

Authors use supporting details to give more information about the main idea.

Lesson Plan

Point: Authors use supporting details to give more information about the main idea.


Connection: Readers, we have been talking a lot about finding the main idea and how authors organize their writing to help you find the main idea.  Today, we are going to start learning about how writers use a lot of evidence to support their main idea.  This evidence is called supporting details.  Supporting details fill the text; they are found in every paragraph.  Readers, today I am going to teach you that in every section of the text, it is your job to learn as much as you can about what that section is all about.


Teaching:  When writers write a text, the most important thing to them is teaching the reader their main idea.  As a reader, it is your job to figure out the main idea and we have been working on that as a class already.  But the writer doesn’t just write a main idea.  Writers convince you that their main idea is true by giving you a lot of supporting details to teach you more about the main idea.  There are supporting details everywhere in a non-fiction text.  Your job is to learn those supporting details so that you can understand more about the main idea.  For instance, I am going to reread this section called “Keeping Cool.”  We worked hard on this section last week and learned that the main idea was.  The main idea of this section is that some animals “adapt” to the heat by storing water in their bodies, digging deep burrows to get out of the sun, and sleeping during the hottest parts of the day.   Now it is our job to learn as many supporting details as we can about this main idea.


(Read section and highlight supporting details such as…)

  • Kangaroo rats have such dry urine to conserve water that their urine is a powder!
  • Burrows......


Active Engagement: Now it’s your turn readers.  I am going to read the rest of this section aloud to you. Work with your partner to reread the rest of this article and then talk to your partner after each section to talk about what you learned in that section – what the supporting details were in that section to support the main idea. 


Link: Readers, today and every day when you read non-fiction, you have to find supporting details in all the sections of your reading.  The reason we read non-fiction is to learn new things, so you should make sure that you are learning all the supporting details that you can while you read.  Today during share, I will ask two people to read us their main idea on their post-it note and then tell us all the things they learned about that idea. 


Share: [call on two people to do the above]

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